Vista, reinstalled: first impressions

Now that I have a copy of Vista Business available to play around with, as well as the requisite KVM for my VX2025wm to work properly, I figured I’d get things installed and post my first impressions.

Acquiring the Software

If you’re a UW student, like I mentioned before, you can check out the MSDNAA version of Windows Vista Business at the CHIP (basement of the MC, room 1052.) You’ll need a valid WatCard to check out the CD’s on 24-hour loan, as well as a QUEST/ADS login to access the various software packages available from UW’s IST department and get the serial number.

Vista comes on five CD-R’s (yes, they’re just CD-R’s with the UW and MSDNAA logos on them), with no option for a DVD at this point. You’re only able to get one serial number issued, which is allegedly good for installation on two of your workstations – after that, you’ve got to call in and reactivate. Instead of slogging through the five-CD install and swapping out discs, I obtained a DVD image (LRMCFRE_EN_DVD.iso) and burned it to a blank. You could also combine the contents of CD’s 1-5 and the bootsector from CD1 to homebrew your own DVD, but that would have been counterproductive for me.

Installation was relatively painless, although the “analyzing system performance” phase immediately after install is sort of useless, especially considering there’ll be updated video drivers on the first run to Windows Update.

Tasks to Perform

For my installation, I performed the following tasks immediately after the usual updates and drivers were installed:

  • Changed the Start Menu preferences: one, two, three, four.
  • Start/Run/secpol.msc, expand Local Policies/Security Options. In Security Options, set “User Account Control: Switch to the secure desktop when prompting for elevation” to Disabled to avoid the annoying flash when User Account Control activates a window.

    Yes, this means that I’m living with UAC turned on; it’s much less annoying without the Secure Desktop turning my screen black and making me lose my place in an application.

  • If you’re going to install a network printer, leave UAC on and do it. There’s a bug in the Add Network Printer wizard that prevents installation of the driver if UAC is off.
  • Changed the settings for SMB file sharing for Xbox Media Center: in secpol.msc, expand Local Policies/Security Options, then set “Network security: LAN Manager authentication level” to “Send LM & NTLM – use NTLMv2 session security if negotiated”. OS X 10.4.9 seems to have fixed the NTLMv2 problem, but Xbox Media Center sure hasn’t.